A Portable Powerhouse to Help Manage Your Life
Lane is a tech blog editor and gamer who says he manages his life on his Surface. Before Surface he lugged around a large and very heavy laptop, now that he’s using Surface he’s able to be mobile and get what he needs done on the go. He can work from anywhere, play games while relaxing at home and manage his technology blog. Lane is sharing his story with us today about how he’s using Surface as his one device.
How long have you been blogging for?
I’ve been blogging for about two years. I started out writing a sort of commentary blog where I’d just point out irony in things we see and do every day. It took me until around the fall of last year to start blogging about technology and that’s probably where I’ll stay since it seems to be what I’m good at.
How has having Surface allowed you to do more?
Before the Surface I was lugging around a huge laptop that definitely had power, but it was just too big. The size and weight of my laptop meant it actually became a desktop. It was always at home, literally, on the top of my desk. I never brought it anywhere because people would say “why are you carrying that around with you?” Having a device that’s small enough to actually take with me all the time encourages me to do so. That’s the power of Surface. You actually have it with you, all the time, and you don’t feel silly carrying it around since it’s so small and light. It feels like carrying around a notebook. It’s also incredibly elegant, so I always want to be looking at it and working on it.
How would you explain the benefits of Surface to someone who’s never used one before?
I was just speaking to a friend few days ago who really needs a Surface. He didn’t know it at the time, but he sees it now. He uses a competing tablet to keep his notes and handle his forms, but he’s really limited by the software and the hardware. Having a keyboard and mouse and Office are really things that he needs. All-in-all, there are numerous benefits the Surface has that maybe people don’t realize they need until they’ve tried it. The kickstand means you can use it in a sort of hands-free orientation. When you’re not worrying about dropping the device, you can obviously type much faster, and interacting with the screen is actually easier. Having a full USB port with you all the time is also powerful even if it’s just for something as simple as charging your phone when it dies, but all of these things are built into the device in such a way that they’re out of your way when you don’t need them, and you don’t have to carry around a bunch of adapters.
Which Surface accessories do you use on a day-to-day basis?
I use the Touch Cover 2 when I’m out since it’s so light and nimble, and then when I come home, I click-in the Type Cover 2 and bang out a couple of articles. I usually carry around the Wedge Touch Mouse with me as well. It’s small enough to fit in my pocket, and its unconventional design is a great conversation starter. People are always asking, “what is that thing?” That’s actually something every Surface owner has right now, people want to know what these cool looking devices are.
Which accessories do you use for gaming?
Many times I’m satisfied with using the Touch Screen, but when I’m playing certain Xbox Games from the Windows Store, I’ll use the USB Xbox 360 Controller. If I’m playing full PC games on the Surface Pro, I’ll use the Type Cover and a USB mouse.
Tell us a little bit more about how you’re using your Surface for gaming?
Sometimes I want to relax, and I don’t feel like doing anything too serious, so I’ll just play a touch enabled game like Halo: Spartan Assault while I’m in bed, sitting on the couch, or waiting for a table at my favorite restaurant. My Surface 2 is perfect for that. Other times I want to get into a great story and gush over the crisp visuals that a full PC title can offer. I’ll set my Surface Pro up either at my desk or on my lap along with the Type Cover 2 and a USB mouse. It’s amazingly flexible and I love being able to jump into a full PC title wherever I am.
Which apps/programs do you use on a regular basis?
After the Windows 8.1 update, I’ve found myself using a lot of the new apps. I use Alarms to wake up every morning, the new Mail app is fantastic, but I also really enjoy the deeper customization the Outlook 2013 offers. The Xbox Music app is also something that I use every single day. I use it to find new artists, and listen to all of the music I want from my favorites. The new Facebook app, Twitter, Nook and Kindle, and OneNote (the one from the Store and the one that’s installed for the desktop) apps are used daily as well.
Do you manage and update your blog from your Surface?
Absolutely! We use Internet Explorer to access WordPress. It’s really fantastic to have a full web browser. That’s not something that many tablets actually have these days. The ability to have two windows open at the same time makes linking to and quoting other articles and bloggers really simple and quick. I use Word 2013 every day to write my blog posts. I’m not sure how many people are aware that it integrates really well with WordPress and that you can publish to your blog right from Word. Word is obviously far superior in terms of actual word processing than the WordPress post writer, and the formatting automatically carries over from Word to your WordPress post.
When you’re not gaming or blogging, what else do you use your Surface for?
That’s a pretty big question. Honestly, I manage my entire life on the Surface. I use it for everything I can possibly think of. I’m not a huge sports nut, but once in a while when there’s a game on and I can’t miss it, I’ll bring it up on Internet Explorer and connect the Surface to my TV through HDMI. I also do a lot of reading and studying on the device, and my wife and I use Excel to manage our budget and schedule.
Why is Surface a great device for gaming?
Gamers love the idea of being mobile, and they love power. Surface is the quintessential portable powerhouse. The 1080p screen has incredible color reproduction and viewing angles, the USB port and integrated Bluetooth allow you to connect all the periphery a gamer could ask for. Besides all of that, Xbox Live integration is super awesome.
What is your favorite thing about having a Surface?
I love the kickstand, USB, the great durable design, and the keyboard covers, but my favorite part of the Surface is all of the great software and services that are included: Office or Office 365, SkyDrive, Skype, Xbox Music, Xbox Video and now the integrated SmartSearch feature.
I’d also like to say how powerful multiple user accounts and SkyDrive syncing is. We have more than one Surface at home, and depending on needs, sometimes I’ll need to use the Surface Pro and other times my wife will. Since we each have very different selections of apps, settings, and preferences, it would be a pain having to share. Imagine signing out of your spouses Facebook account every time they hand the tablet over to you. The same would apply for all accounts on the internet. Multiple user accounts are super important and super convenient. With SkyDrive, all of those settings, internet usernames and passwords, apps, etc. all follow you wherever you sign in. It’s super awesome.
Senior Manager – Microsoft Surface